Volga Weekend Edition: The 1998-2004 GAZ-3111

Antti Kautonen October 18, 2015 Weekend Edition


The absolute weirdest-looking Volga saloon was the 1998 3111, which is almost science fiction -like in its appearance. It’s bulbous, it’s heavy-looking, it’s vulgar, it’s grotesque, it’s everything the GAZ-24 wasn’t.

The idea is for it to appear somewhat similar in detailing, but the 3111 looks like it’s been blown up at the factory and then painted and fitted with wheels.

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Volga Weekend Edition: The 1992-1996 GAZ-3105

Antti Kautonen October 18, 2015 Weekend Edition


Now that the production cars are out of the way, we can get into wacky, wacky prototypes and small series cars. GAZ didn’t necessarily plan to just keep building the same car over and over again, as there were ideas and developments to do more with design and amenities. And as the Chaika was buried in history, there was a real need for a modern Russian luxury car in the mid-1990s.

Here’s what the short-lived 3105 series looked like. It’s not too far removed from what the Western carmakers were doing, even if the dimensions aren’t quite there.

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Volga Weekend Edition: The 1997-2010 GAZ-3110 and 31105

Antti Kautonen October 18, 2015 Weekend Edition


The same basic car as seen on the previous incarnations of Volga saloons and wagons still continued to soldier on as the 20th century approached its end. Even if the car was extensively re-engineered, it seemed as if the middle section of a GAZ-24 from the late 1960s was still doing business, and in a way it was true: the doors, the pillars and the platform remained.

Somehow, the 3110 looks good to my eyes. It’s definitely less incongruous than the Moskvitch saloons of the same time frame, which by then looked like caricatures. I would love to see a Volvo 240 receive the exact same treatment as the Volga here: retain everything that’s crucial to consider it effectively the same car, but update and rounden the bucks just to make it appear gently modernized.

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Weekend Edition: 1985 Skoda 120 GLS with bonus 1985 new car prices

Antti Kautonen October 18, 2015 Weekend Edition


“It’s like a depressing version of your Polo”, said the esteemed writer B Z. R, as I showed him these photos of this green mid-1980s Skoda 120 GLS that’s currently for sale in my town. And he’s right, in a way, even if the rear-engined Skodas pre-date the Volkswagen years by a large margin. The 54-horsepower cars were sold on the same market, to roughly the same customers, but in 1985 Finland you could have gotten the Skoda for roughly 31 000 Finnish marks, while the VW cost twenty thousand more – in today’s dollars, 11,500 and 18,800.

The Skoda wasn’t completely bare-bones, though. With the GLS trim you got a tachometer and five speeds, and you could never get the Polo with four doors, which is kind of strange to me, as even the Opel Corsa was offered with a full set of doors.

As a bonus of sorts, I’ve added some new car prices from a Finnish magazine from 1985 and converted them to today’s money. That should show you what the average Finn got for his money.

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Volga Weekend Edition: The 1982-1997 GAZ-3102

Antti Kautonen October 17, 2015 Weekend Edition


Let me just stop for a while and say how much I enjoy this image of the GAZ-3102. It shows exactly how the Soviet carmaker and the country around it had entered the 1980s, and the feel of the shot is straight out of an imaginary Russian remake of The Equalizer.

While the GAZ-24 soldiered on, the 3102 was developed as both its successor and a higher-up of sorts. You can see the lineage in the basic structure, but both technically and appearance-wise, the 3102 is a step up.

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Volga Weekend Edition: The 1967-1985 GAZ-24

Antti Kautonen October 17, 2015 Weekend Edition


This weekend marks the beginning of my fifth year here at Hooniverse. It’s been a wild, productive ride from the early years to the latest days: down on the street sightings, road trips, ancient cars and the occasional new one, along with a bunch of Beaterland daily drivers I’ve bought and kept on the road.

A little while ago I dedicated a weekend to the glory days of the Soviet carmaker AZLK that produced Moskvitches, and this weekend it’s GAZ’s turn, with numerous Volgas churned out during the latter half of the 20th century. Volgas were always sort of official cars, so you could call them the LTD Crown Victorias of Soviet Russia. And like the Panther platform, they were built for absolutely forever.

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Free Association Friday: Dig Me by King Crimson

Antti Kautonen October 9, 2015 Aural Pleasure


Have you encountered really, really Hooniworthy lyrics in your favorite music? I am quite sure, that these pages hold together a few fans of progressive rock, and King Crimson to be precise. The song “Dig Me” from 1984’s Three of a Perfect Pair is pretty close to a familiar mindset of mechanical sympathy.

Among some of the more easy listening pieces on that album, Dig Me is quite abrasive, but the lyrics are close to home.

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Concept Cars: The Pininfarina Ethos 2 still looks fresh


Would you believe if I told you the sleek, light-looking car above was a concept from two years ago? Five? Perhaps with LED headlights and different door glass instead of the SVX-y elements, it would be easily believed.

But no, the Ethos 2 was actually presented at the Turin Motor Show in 1993 – an astonishing 22 years ago. Maybe it’s the shade of blue that still works in 2015, maybe it’s the well-proportioned body, maybe it’s the minimalistic approach, but there’s nothing on the car that would severely date it back two decades.

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Moskvitch Weekend Edition: Oldtimers and Oddballs


From 1947 to 1954, the Moskvitches produced by Moscovskiy Zavod Malolitrazhnyh Avtomobiley were often of the 400-420 saloon type, as seen above. The car was based on the 1938 Opel Kadett, and the 1.1-litre engine produced 23 horsepower. Wikipedia mentions the 0-50 mph sprint as having taken 55 seconds, and the car achieving 31 mpg, which is hardly bad for those times.

In the Moskvitch portfolio, there are numerous models that deserve to be seen. Take a peek.

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Moskvitch Weekend Edition: The 1976-1987 Moskvitch 2140/Elite


With time, the 408/412 series were replaced by the modernized 2140 series, which relied on the same basic structure. As with the previous post, there is a great deal of Finnish promotional shots courtesy of the importer.

The sole engine here was the 1500cc engine from the 412, meaning the export versions remained to be called the Moskvitch 1500/1500S and the later 1500SL.

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